We sat there, dangling our legs on the dining room chairs and chatting about sports and travel and favorite hobbies when he said it.
I don’t know how it is that sometimes God speaks to us so directly through another’s mouth. But as we sat there “ooh”ing over pictures of their granddaughter and joking about who does the dishes in our house, the topic shifted to struggles & pain. He folds his place mat deliberately.
“You know, I used to have many people pray over me for deliverance from the pain. And as the years went on, I started to feel guilty, ashamed that they weren’t answered.” He looks up, straight into our eyes.
“And now I’m beginning to realize. God isn’t taking away my pain because he knows there is something better.
“The pain is what keeps me focused on the goodness of God.”
I let it sink in for a moment. Just hours before I had confessed to my husband that I wasn’t always sure what it meant to truly rejoice in the Lord. There are so many distractions in this life, and good things like health, success, or happiness can be just as guilty. When we find ourselves without them, what then? How do we rejoice in the “things unseen”?
So we do not lose heart…For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
When I look back at each season of my life, I want to be able to say, “This one showed me even more of the goodness of God.” So I’m beginning to keep a mental list of the blessings of this season:
- Getting to see friends & family who I would have missed from being out of the country
- Experiencing the humble blessing of receiving instead of giving. Being part of a church & community that has supported us & loved us so well.
- Learning contentment in “everyday” life, something I have always struggled with
- Reading several very timely books which I can already tell are going to shape my thinking for the better
- Letting go of finding my worth in what I do, and focusing more on cultivating a sense of value in who I am.
This Good Friday, we gather to remember that what seemed like failure & disaster to the world one day, suddenly became the most glorious story ever told a few days later. And although my story is much less painful in comparison, I love remembering that even here, the newness of life will spring forth in ways I never imagined.
The pain may be the very thing that keeps us focused on the goodness of God.